A recent genomic study of more than 200 cat genomes has shown that starting approximately 8,000 years ago, cats began to domesticate humans and use them for their own purposes.
The genome study shows that cat genomes have not changed much in the last 8,000 years, but humans show signatures of cat-influenced artifical selection.
“Human farming by cats is quite a good symbiosis”, said Dr. Barry Cade, one of the authors of the study, “somewhat like the relationship between ants and aphids, where the ants farm the aphids.”
“Cats have managed to breed several varieties of humans, selecting mostly for docile, acquiescent humans that are willing to take keep throwing balls of wool for the cat’s amusement. They have also selected for technologically competent humans that could develop an internet dedicated to cat photographs.”
“Of course, artificial selection can have its side-effects. The most unusual has been the curious human addiction to Ed Sheeran.”
“This is what the famous cat-owned scientist Stephen Jay Gould called a Spandrel. It might look like humans have selected Ed Sheeran as a preferred musician, but in reality, this is just a side effect of the adoration humans have for their cat masters.”
“Overall, the domestication strategy has been incredibly successful, as evidenced by the growth in the number of farmed humans from only a few thousand at the time that cats adopted them as their preferred species, to well over 7 billion humans today. Cats are truly the ultimate farmers and today humans and their owners live happily together in this symbiosis.”